What is OpinionSpy and how to remove it?

OpinionSpy — also known as OSX/OpinionSpy and PremierOpinion — is a persistent Mac spyware that was first uncovered by the Apple security firm Intego in 2010. Since then, Apple have released several new operating systems and dealt with countless security threats and new viruses, such as this, every day.

Hence the surprise in 2015 when it came back. A new, more powerful version was discovered in an installer for an app on CNET’s Download.com. This and countless other websites and platforms are how malicious viruses, such as OpinionSpy, are spread. MacUpdate and VersionTracker are other websites that are known to be sources of these infections, with viruses often hidden in legitimate software bundles that have been compromised or in free screensaver downloads.

Free Video Cutter is the unlucky app that happened to include OpinionSpy this time. It prevents the app it hides within from working and then downloads the executable to the newly infected Mac.

What does OpinionSpy do to a Mac?

Similar to other malware programs, OpinionSpy hides within the installer of a genuine app. Some app developers and companies are actively aware of the malware and might even profit in some way, whereas the majority of others don’t want malware and viruses piggybacking within the installation process.

During the download process, OpinionSpy — hiding as PremierOpinion — asks permission within the Terms & Conditions of the app you are trying to download. Of course, since most people don’t read these, almost everyone is going to miss what is really being installed. Within these Terms & Conditions, PremierOpinion inserts the following text, claiming that this is all part of a market research exercise:

“by accepting this, you become participants in an online market research community to voice their opinions by allowing their online browsing and purchasing behavior to be monitored, collected, and once anonymized, used to create market reports, materials and other forms of analysis that made by shared with our clients.”

Once you’ve typed in your admin/login password, you’ve given this app however much control it needs to achieve its goals. In a way, it tells you what they are within the legal jargon that comes with the download. It records “Internet usage, demographic information, details of your hardware/software/computer configuration as well as application usage.”

But it isn’t sharing any of this with a legitimate market research company. Infected Macs are having data stolen, and it goes to cybercriminal players on the dark web, keen to exploit any information that is useful. This information includes but isn’t limited to passwords and other data.

Clearly, this is not a malware infection you want spying on your every move. Let’s look at how to remove OpinionSpy and restore your Mac to working order.

How to remove OpinionSpy

It can be removed manually or with a malware removal tool, such as CleanMyMac X.

Smart scan

For manual removal, begin with your browsers, where this program has highjacked them.

Start with your browser extensions. It is worth checking more than one to make sure it hasn’t deposited the executable file extensions in multiple browsers.

#1: Uninstall OpinionSpy from Safari

  1. Go to Safari > Settings.
  2. Click on Extensions.
  3. Pick the extension that you don’t recognize to delete.
  4. Click Uninstall.
  5. Confirm that you want to uninstall the extension.

#2: Remove OpinionSpy from Chrome

  1. Open Chrome.
  2. Go to the Menu in your browser.
  3. Click on More Tools > Extensions.
  4. Pick the extension that you don’t recognize to delete.
  5. Click Remove.
  6. Confirm that you want to remove the extension.

#3: Delete OpinionSpy from Firefox

  1. Open Firefox.
  2. Go to the Menu in your browser.
  3. Click on the Add-ons and themes.
  4. Select the extension you want to remove.
  5. Click Remove.
  6. Confirm that you want to delete it.

#4: Remove OpinionSpy from your macOS system

Look for any application or folder with the words “Premier,” “Opinion,” or “Spy.” In some cases, it makes it obvious, labeling itself as PremierOpinion.

  1. Open Finder > Go > Go to Folder.
  2. Paste the following path and press Return: /Library/LaunchAgents
  3. Check every folder within LaunchAgents.
  4. Move every file you find to Trash. And then, repeat the above process in the following folder: ~/Library/LaunchAgents. Do the same as in step 3.
  5. And the same again in this folder: ~/Library/Application Support
  6. Finally, delete any folders in Applications that indicate they’re the home of this software.

Always take great care while doing this. You don’t want to delete something you need. To make sure you’ve got it and any other infections, there is always CleanMyMac X — a powerful malware removal tool.

Malware removal module of CleanMyMacX

CleanMyMac X is capable of removing known viruses, malware, adware, spyware, and dozens of other cyber problems. It also cleans your Mac and dramatically improves its performance, clearing out, on average, 62GB of useless data from every Mac.

Remove OpinionSpy and any other computer viruses with CleanMyMac X:  

  1. Download CleanMyMac X for free.
  2. Install and open the app.
  3. Use the Malware Removal tool.
  4. Click Scan to find any threats.
  5. Click Remove, and they will vanish.
Malware scan in process

OpinionSpy is not something your Mac wants hanging around. The sooner you detect the infection and remove it, the better. We hope this article helps you do that.

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